A plane belonging to Nigeria Air, Nigeria’s national carrier, is reportedly preparing to embark on its inaugural flight to Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja. The plane is currently stationed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and is set to commence its journey shortly.
Earlier, Daily Trust reported that the promise of the national carrier to begin operations before President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure ends on May 29 had not been fulfilled. However, in a swift reaction to the report, Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, affirmed that Nigeria Air would indeed commence operations within the stipulated time frame.
During a recent interview on Channels Television, Sirika disclosed, “On the question of Nigeria Air, on Friday in two days, Nigeria Air’s plane will land in Nigeria as part of the processes to commence operation. We will unveil this aircraft on that day, painted in Nigeria’s colours, and it will belong to Nigeria Air. We will then proceed to retrofit and bring back those airplanes.”
There are sources indicating that a plane painted in the colours of Nigeria Air is currently set to arrive from Ethiopian Airlines for a proposed test-flight, consistent with Sirika’s interview.
However, doubts remain over whether the airline will get clearance to start operations or demonstration flights necessary for the Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC), amidst industry disquiet over alleged moves by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to waive some requirements.
The airline is also faced with a standing order of perpetual injunction issued against it following a suit by the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON). AON recently penned a letter to President Buhari, outlining its objections to the legality of the national carrier project.